25 Apr 2020

Team NZ adopts new technology to return under level 3

10:24 am on 25 April 2020

Team New Zealand's partnered with Dunedin tech company Igtimi to create personal separation and contact tracing tags to allow its team to safely return to work next week.

The America's Cup holders have been unable to work on their second AC75 boat during the level four lockdown, but have been looking at how to get operational under level 3.

"It was obvious to us that monitoring social distancing would be both difficult and distracting for the team to be constantly judging their distance by eye all day long," Team New Zealand CEO Grant Dalton said.

"So we went looking for a simple technological system that could aid the team with their personal distancing but nothing seemed to be readily available.

Team New Zealand AC75 Te Aihe sailing off Auckland.

Team New Zealand AC75 Te Aihe sailing off Auckland last year Photo: Richard Gladwell/Sail World/Photosport

"Because we are an organisation with technology at its core, we looked at what we could do ourselves and who we knew could help."

Dalton approached Brent Russell and his company Igtimi, who are in charge of developing the pinpoint accurate boat tracking software for the America's Cup race management system.

Russell's typically Kiwi response was: "yep, we can do this".

He and his team developed an Ultra Wide Band positioning system of personal tags that accurately measure the distance between people. The tags are programmed to react by flashing, beeping and vibrating when a pre-programmed perimeter is intersected. The interactions between the two tags (or people) are then logged for contact tracing purposes.

"We have basically come up with a cost-effective technical solution to keep the Team New Zealand crew separated in their own bubbles in their work environment and recording any contact between them for traceability and accountability." Russell said.

"Before coronavirus came along we would have been in the thick of preparing for the TV production and race management in Cagliari at the first ACWS event this week. Instead, we have spent our time frantically working with Team New Zealand on this separation system and plan to have it implemented by the time work resumes on Tuesday morning."

Team New Zealand has also imported several chlorination producing machines for its team base and build facility, addressing the need for stringent hygiene and constant sanitisation.

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